Molniya (rocket)

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Colour drawing of the Russian (former Soviet) Molniya-M carrier rocket

The Molniya 8K78 (Russian: Молния, meaning "lightning") was a modification of the well-known R-7 Semyorka rocket and had four stages.

The 8K78 resulted from a crash program by the Korolev Bureau to develop a booster for launching planetary probes. A larger third stage was added along with a fourth stage (Blok L) that was designed to fire in-orbit to send the payload out of LEO. The basic R-7 core was also structurally strengthened and given more powerful engines. A rushed development produced multiple malfunctions of the upper stages, which led to its being replaced by the improved Molniya M in 1964.

[1] [2] [3] [4]

See also


  1. Encyclopedia Astronautica Molniya-1
  2. Encyclopedia Astronautica Molniya 8K78M
  3. Encyclopedia Astronautica Molniya-2
  4. The Soyuz Launch Vehicle: The Two Lives of an Engineering Triumph By Christian Lardier, Stefan Barensky, page 156